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Policy: Environment & Energy

Mitch McConnell wants to block EPA coal regulations

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Mitch McConnell,EPA,Ashe Schow,Energy and Environment,Coal

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., invoked a rarely-used legislative tool on Thursday to block the Environmental Protection Agency's rules for newly built coal plants.

McConnell, who is facing a primary opponent in his bid for re-election, filed a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act in order to stop the EPA's new coal regulations.

“She knows that the technology this regulation requires is prohibitively expensive - that her own agency knows it's nowhere near ready for adoption, that even some White House officials do not believe her plan is feasible - and that that's the point,” McConnell said, referring to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “The point here is to eliminate coal jobs in America.”

Further, McConnell noted, the EPA rules for new coal plants were revealed to be nothing more than a legal precedent to enact similar unobtainable rules for existing plants.

“In other words, it could allow the administration to achieve its true aim of eliminating coal jobs completely,” McConnell said.

The CRA has only been used successfully once since it was created in 1996 to allow senators to bypass the Senate majority leader and force a vote to stop regulations that required only 51 votes to pass.

A CRA is only used against finalized regulations, and the EPA rule is still a proposed rule. But since the rule could have an immediate impact, a CRA may be allowed.

In response to McConnell’s intentions, the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released a statement decrying the regulations and calling on Congress to work together to protect coal.

“Regulations singularly aimed at ending coal-fueled electricity in this country are not the way to address concerns about global climate change,” ACCCE said. “And despite gridlock in Washington, D.C., our lawmakers must look beyond their differences, reassert their authority and work together to protect and strengthen America’s energy future.”

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